COVID-19 Crisis Brings New Families to The Salvation Army

Food hampers
by Alberta

The Salvation Army Calgary’s Community Support Services office in Forest Lawn is normally a place where people, many of whom are homeless, can come in for a cup of coffee, get a sandwich, and some essentials. Since March 16 and the worldwide COVID-19 response, that has changed.

The centre is still open but is now by appointment only. This is important to note as they are the only social agency in the Forest Lawn area that has stayed open since March 16, although some others have started to open again. People can make an appointment to pick up a food hamper and basic necessities such as hygiene products, while respecting physical distancing and COVID-19 safety measures.

Since March 18, over 675 individuals and 840 families have picked up a hamper – 62% of which are new families needing assistance.

“These are families that are going to be impacted for the long-term and turning to The Salvation Army for assistance,” says Karen Livick, Executive Director for The Salvation Army Community Services Calgary. “That’s what we’re planning on ramping up for now is providing these hampers for the next couple of months.”

With just one volunteer and a van, food hampers are also being delivered to those in the area who are self-isolating, seniors, and single parents.

The number of homeless and families coming to The Salvation Army for help are increasing, but also are offers to help.

“We’ve had lots of calls to donate, so starting Monday, April 27, we will be accepting food donations at our warehouse (4420-75 Ave SE, #14) from 12-4 p.m.,” says Livick. “People will be able to drop off food donations while observing physical distancing and sanitation requirements.”

For those who are interested in making a monetary donation, please call 403-410-1133 during regular business hours, or online at

No one knows what the next few weeks or months are going to look like, but Livick is already thinking past that as, “We are already wondering what the impact at Christmas will be.”